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Better Understanding of Bacterial Pneumonia in Foals

Rhodococcus equi causes severe bacterial pneumonia in foals, and the disease is endemic on many horsebreeding farms. On such farms, costs associated with early diagnosis, veterinary care, long-term therapy and significant foal mortality are exorbitant. In spite of the magnitude of this problem, little progress has been made in the prevention of infection by this devastating pathogen. In contrast to foals, adult horses are resistant to R. equi infections. The ability of R. equi to survive in macrophages (a type of cell that can kill other bacteria) is at the basis of its ability to cause disease. The study will investigate mechanisms by which macrophages can become activated to kill R. equi. A better understanding of how foal macrophages can eradicate R. equi may lead to ways to prevent the disease.

Dr. Steeve Giguère, University of Georgia, D10EQ-009
Dr. Tracy Sturgill, University of Georgia, Fellowship Training Grant, D10EQ-403